June 16th, 2010 5:33 pm | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, Sports, Sports

Billy Ray Bates Remembered

Billy Ray Bates

If this excerpt about ex-Trail Blazer Billy Ray Bates when he played in the Phillipines is any indication of the rest of Rafe Bartholemew's book (Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin' in Flip-Flops and the Philippines' Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball), the hoops book just leaped to the top of my Father's Day list.

This 2004 "whatever happened to" piece about Bates in Willamette Week gets a mention in Bartholomew's book excerpt. The author cites the comments section in the online version of the 2004 WW piece as showing the wide range of fan feelings about Bates. Agreed.

My favorite line among many in Bartholomew's excerpt about Bates, a legend on the court for his explosiveness — and off the court for his drinking:
"... one of his boasts became the quote that summed up his PBA career: "The only way I can be stopped is to handcuff my right arm to my leg.""

In his prime, that was true. I was lucky enough to see Bates play in his prime with the Blazers. Here's my favorite memory (the third highlight in this montage of great buzzer-beaters in Blazers' history):

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